Michigan Association of School Administrators

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David Britton, Godfrey-Lee
Rich Franklin, Athens
Scot Graden, Saline
Tony Habra, Rudyard
Jerry Jennings, MASA
Michele Lemire, Escanaba
Vickie Markavitch, Oakland
Steve Matthews, Novi
Mike Paskewicz, Northview

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Advanced Copy of August 2014 Northview News Superintendent Letter

Written by Mike Paskewicz on Jul 23, 2014
July 24, 2014Good Afternoon,As you have come to expect, pasted below (and attached as a word document) is an advanced copy of my August Northview News Superintendent Letter.  Please feel free to share the letter with those in your circles of influence. Also remember to mark your calendars for Election Day - November 4, 2014.  The ballot will be long and we are asking that you remember to turn all the way to the back of the ballot and vote on three important ballot questions: 1.  Northview School Board Trustee - Six (6) year term - Two seats open - Vote for TwoTim Detwiler - IncumbentDouglas La Fleur - IncumbentScott Kohsel2.  Northview School Board Trustee - Four (4) year term - Two seats open - Vote for TwoMichelle L. GalleryMichael HenshawJeff Lambert3.  Renewal of the Non-Homestead Operating Millage (funds classrooms) - No Tax Rate Increase       and is on all property except principal residence (your home). NORTHVIEW PUBLIC SCHOOLS OPERATING MILLAGE RENEWAL PROPOSAL This proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance and renews millage that will expire with the 2015 tax levy.Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation of 18 mills ($18.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in Northview Public Schools, Kent County, Michigan, be renewed for a period of 12 years, 2016 to 2027, inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2016 is approximately $2,965,000 (thus is a renewal of millage which will expire with the 2015 tax levy)?Sincerely and With Great Respect,Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent Northview News August 2014 Dear Families, Community Members, Students, and Staff, Have you noticed the “Back to School” advertisements presented by the local media outlets?  They started in early July and now we are just a few weeks away from the official start of the 2014/15 school year.  You will begin to see and hear the energy of the school year in early August as our marching band and athletic teams prepare for the upcoming fall season. As for me, I could not be more excited about the upcoming school year.  Here are just a few of the reasons why: ·         Over 3,400 students, their families, our staff, and the extended Northview community will deepen their emotional and spiritual connection during the year.  “We believe people working together toward common goals can accomplish anything.” ·         The 434 staff members (instructional and support staff) are committed to a process of continuous quality improvement. ·         Northview Public Schools was granted AdvancED School System Accreditation from the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, the national commission that confers the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement accreditation seal.  This means that the system and all of its schools are accredited, and that Northview Public Schools District is recognized across the nation as a quality school system. ·         The NHS senior class of 2015 is the only class that has experienced all three years of construction. ·         Our high school will open the new pool, fitness center, kitchen, cafeteria, NEF Honor Wall, front entrance and main offices this fall.  We are planning a “grand opening” event for the community on Thursday, October 23, 2014.  Thank you Northview voters! ·         We will provide our elected officials, community members, and opinion leaders with qualitative and quantitative evidence that our “Northview Public Schools work.”  Last year, thanks to all of you, we provided over 100 “pieces of evidence” from an ever-growing list of hundreds. Once again, I am asking for your help as we move into the new school year.  Please consider doing one of the six things listed below at least one time per month.  I ask this of you because “we believe we are all responsible for student success and learning.” 1.    Contact someone in your circle of influence and tell them about the great things going on in Northview.  Use email, text messages, social media sites, phone calls, post cards, US Mail, or a conversation over the back fence.  If you send an email, consider sending me a copy (mpaskewicz@nvps.net). 2.    Read the “School News Network” weekly (www.schoolnewsnetwork.org) and tell at least two other people about this site that provides evidence public schools work in Kent County. 3.    Speak to a school-age student in your neighborhood.  Tell them how important it is to do well in school.  Tell them you are proud of them for their contributions to our community.  Let them know their achievements and behaviors are a reflection of you and our entire community. 4.    Thank a Northview staff member for their work in our school district.  5.    If you are a Northview staff member, thank a community member or parent for their support. 6.    Write a short note to your elected officials.  Ask them how they evaluate their support of public education.   Administrative Changes for the 2014/15 School Year I am excited to announce several recent changes in the administrative team for the coming year.  I ask for your support of these individuals as they transition into new roles.  Our administrative team remains dedicated to the children of Northview, positive change and the pursuit of excellence that promotes student success.  We look forward to the opportunities these changes will bring. NHS Athletic Director Rick Albro accepted a women’s basketball assistant coaching position at the University of Detroit.  The move allows him to be closer to family.  We thank Rick for his service to our student/athletes and coaches. The vacancy at the NHS Athletic Director position allowed Jerry Klekotka to move into the NHS AD role.  Jerry expressed interest in building his capacity at the high school level.  He is excited about the new challenge.  Jerry provided leadership at East Oakview for 7.5 years. Andy Scogg has been the principal at Crossroads for 15 years.  Next year he will join the staff at East Oakview as their principal.  Andy started his career at the elementary level. Dan Duba will move to Crossroads as their principal.  He is returning to Crossroads after 10 years of service to the Highlands community. Jamey Vermaat has accepted the challenge as principal of Highlands after serving as principal of East Campus High School for 8 years.  This move allows Jamey to broaden his experience in the general education environment.   Julia Reynolds will have additional duties assigned as the Director of Curriculum and School Improvement.  This adds another dimension to the strong teacher leadership we have experienced in the curriculum areas over the past three years. This time of year has been the same for me over the past 40 years.  I can’t wait to be with our students, their families, our staff, and community members as we deepen our commitment to providing the very best learning experience for each one of our students.  Thanks to the strong emotional and spiritual connection between our community and its schools, the likelihood of student success is very high.    Sincerely and With Great Respect,Mike

Outstanding Fourth Grade Project at the "U"

Written by Michele Lemire on Jul 17, 2014
Yesterday, I found teachers Karin and Mike Beveridge, along with their grandchildren, planting some flowering shrubs in the flower box in front of the school. The fourth grade had raised some funds to help pay for this project and it is really beautiful. Thank you fourth graders and the Beveridge family for your efforts!

What Led Zeppelin teaches us about school reform

Written by Steve Matthews on Jul 15, 2014
Have you ever listened to a Led Zeppelin song backwards?

I hear they say all kinds of evil things.

Simon Singh has listened to Led Zeppelin songs backwards. He doesn't hear anything but gibberish.

Yet he is able to get me to hear things that are not there.

Listen to his talk. Then play your Led Zeppelin album backwards! Oh my!

Singh states, "Combine bad data with a big bias and the brain fills in the holes and you end up hearing something that's not there."

Which brings me to this editorial in the Detroit News. The writer states without qualification and without hesitation that only 17.8% of Michigan high school graduates were prepared for college. This data comes from the ACT College Testing data.

ACT in their "Reality of College Readiness" report state benchmark scores on ACT subject area assessments that "represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of earning a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing first-year college courses." (page 3)

Michigan's education dashboard promotes this number. Governor Snyder in his 2013 State of the State address stated that "only 17% of our kids are college ready." The Michigan School Data portal has a link to the ACT College Readiness results. Again, only 17.7% of students are viewed as college ready.

As Singh states: "Combine bad data with a big bias and the brain fills in the holes and you end up hearing something that's not there."

The state of Michigan could promote other data.

For example, they could promote the number of students who attend Michigan colleges after graduation from high school. Over 60% of the graduates of 2011-12 (the latest year for which data is currently available) enrolled in college. And this is just the students who went to Michigan colleges. The percentage would rise if students who went to out-of-state colleges were included.

Some might counter that "I'll grant you they went to college but I bet they needed to take those remedial courses when they got there!"

Not really.

The same Michigan School Data portal shows how many of the 2012 high school graduates needed remedial assistance when they entered college.

What's your guess?

Well if only 17% of the graduates are college ready it must mean that 83% needed remedial assistance.


The numbers don't lie. And they are pretty good. (Click on the percentage tab under the title.)

Only 17% of the 2012 graduates took a remedial course in math, less than 10% took a remedial course in reading, 11% took a remedial course in writing, and less than 10% took a remedial course in science.

So why would the Governor, the state of Michigan's education dashboard, and the Detroit News continue to promote this idea that only 17% of our high school graduates are college ready?

If I were the Governor I would promote the idea that our students are ready for college. I would promote that when our graduates go to college only a small percentage need remedial assistance. I would promote that our public schools are doing wonderfully well educating our students.

As Simon Singh says: "Combine bad data with a big bias and the brain fills in the holes and you end up hearing something that's not there."

So why does the Governor promote that our schools are doing so poorly?

Maybe there is an agenda and a bias against public schools. Maybe if public schools look like they are not doing a good job it will be easier to promote agenda items that favor schools of choice, charter schools, the Educational Achievement Authority, online learning, and other so called educational reforms.

I for one believe in our public school system. I think the numbers demonstrate that we are doing well.

Can we improve? Absolutely!

But to suggest that we are not preparing students to be successful once they leave high school is, in my opinion, irresponsible.

Test scores and school quality

Written by David Britton on Jul 13, 2014
Julie Mack: Test scores, school quality and public vs. private schools | MLive.com

"The findings of the Coleman Report transformed educational theory: Turns out that a child's life outside of school has a far greater impact than the school he or she attends."Those findings have been reconfirmed by countless studies over the past 48 years. Educators now recognize test scores are hugely influenced by sociodemographics, including household income, mother's educational attainment, and the child's neighborhood and social circle."School quality certainly matters, but largely on the margins. It also turns out that "school quality" is much more nuanced than the conventional wisdom assumes."
Shocking news said no one ever who has any substantial knowledge at all about how learning works and doesn't think of children merely as pets who will do any tricks for treats.

Comparing higher education tuition increases with K-12 public school foundation revenue

Written by David Britton on Jul 12, 2014
Just imagine if K-12 public schools could raise revenue the same as four year colleges and universities.

Yesterday, it was announced that West Michigan's Grand Valley State University was raising tuition by 2.9% (on top of the average 5.9% revenue increase provided earlier this spring by the state legislature and signed by Governor Snyder). The increase in tuition alone brings the annual tuition rate up to $10,752 per undergraduate student.

Thirteen years ago, my wife and I sent our son to our alma mater GVSU which that year had an annual (two semesters) tuition rate of $4,660. This of course doesn't include all the added fees, books, room-and-board, and other costs and by the time he graduated, tuition rates had already risen by 41%. Compared to that same year, the GVSU trustees just approved a rate for this fall that will be...wait for it, wait for it...131% higher than in 2001-02!

Now compare it to our K-12 public school district's foundation allowance, which one could argue is a similar funding source providing for core academic instruction and basic operations, although unlike postsecondary institutions like GVSU, public schools do not enjoy any control over how much this combined state and local funding will be each year. In 2001-02, the same year my son entered the hallowed halls of GVSU, our district received a foundation allowance of $6,666 (okay leave out the jokes about the end times, mark of the beast, etc). Following a severe per-pupil cut in the foundation allowance the year Governor Snyder came to office, despite the fact this key source of revenue already fails to keep up with the rate of inflation, our per-pupil revenue rate has now been set at $7,251 for this fall. That equates to a new level of per-pupil revenue that is merely 8.8% higher than thirteen years ago
Let me summarize.

GVSU, which is also benefiting to some degree by Governor Snyder's raid on the School Aid Fund that had been designed solely to support K-12 public education, has raised its annual tuition rate by 131%. At the same time, public schools like ours nearby have been expected to operate at a greater level of efficiency and provide a higher rate of college and career readiness while taking on more difficult curriculum standards and graduation requirements, working with a greater percentage of students who are struggling due to poverty, limited English proficiency, transiency, and a growing lack of parental support for learning, all while making due with an 8.8% increase in our foundation revenue.

To be fair, colleges and universities claim their revenues are not keeping up with costs. Oh, really? Try walking in the shoes of a K-12 public school administrator some time. That rationale doesn't seem to resonate with those folks in Lansing holding all the power and making all the decisions on school funding.

And then we wonder how to make sense of allegations that K-12 schools are not adequately preparing our charges for college?  At the same time, should we question if it make any difference if no one can afford to attend a four-year institution any longer?